Archive for December, 2013

Christmas 2013

Well Christmas has come and gone for another year.  Remarkable this year for us in that all our children, their spouses and our grandchildren were here with us to enjoy.  Most evenings we sat 15 people around an extended table that required moving other furniture to fit in.  Lots of meals and lots of dishes and lots of refreshments

Christmas Eve Janine and Vedran organized BBQ pizzas with everyone getting their choice on toppings.  10 pizzas were prepared and for the most part all were consumed.

Christmas day was the traditional Turkey dinner.  This year we arranged for a fresh 23 pound bird and with the crowd we only had enough leftovers for soup and a few sandwiches.

Boxing Day dinner was prepared by Sean and Andra a standing pork rib roast.  They did this in character as that was the night of our murder mystery and Sean was the butler and Andra the maid.  Great meal and we had a wonderful mystery investigation afterwards.  Everyone had a role and everyone played it out well.  A surprise development was the character played by 10 year old Mason was the secret lover of Pat (playing the sister of the first murder victim)  and therefore the father of  the nephew of the murder victim played by James.  Janine, Meagan, Bronte and Ariana were having affairs with either the character played by James or the Pool Boy played by Bryndon or the chauffeur played by Chandler.  Vedran was the lawyer and Jorg the corrupt accountant with Monique playing the family shrink.

In the end Chandler was the murderer and played his role perfectly.

The days were filled with hiking in the forests trails due to the lack of snow on Mount Washington which precluded skiing and snowshoeing.  Lots of jigsaw puzzles were completed and each evening ended with group games.  Weather was overcast but mostly warm so outdoor activities were very comfortable for the twice daily dog walks.

As each of the kids headed home Pat was able (with a little help from me) to bring the household back into shape.

Christmas 2013 Family

Dec 15 In Paradise

Chandler is enjoying his first day here on the warm west coast.  Flew in yesterday from Alberta where it is so cold that if you are outside you have to have a conversation over an open fire so that the words that you say thaw out enough to be heard.

So we took Chandler and the dogs for a walk on Goose Spit in the sunshine today.   A warm 9° C , jackets open, sweating a bit due to the exercise.

No wonder we retired out here.


Missed Flights in Comox Valley

It is Friday night and we were waiting for our grandson to fly in as the first of all the family to show up for the holidays.  Great weather as it is 7° C and a light drizzle.  Problem is that this means foggy conditions in the evenings.  We are not talking of London Fog where you cannot see 100 m but just foggy.

Unfortunately this is a big issue at the local airport. A very controversial issue.

At the ocean end of the main runway are a few homes with views to the sea but with tall stands of fir trees on the inland side of their properties.  Problem is the trees are more than 150 feet high.  They were not that big when they moved in but now they are.

The military does not have a problem with, but Transport Canada, for civilian flights, says when there are foggy conditions planes cannot land with these trees this height.   The authorities are going through the steps to legally require the few home owners to top their trees, but for some reason the property owners are fighting it tooth and nail.  We have driven down the street and cannot understand why they would not top them as it is not that big an issue.  The airport authority is going through courts to require the topping, but as usual  it takes years.

We have warm moist conditions much of the winter (the warmth is why we retired here) .  Last month alone 81 flights had to turn back even though they could see the runway, but the trees at the end were too tall.

Tonight we were expecting our grandson and the fog was not that bad, but the flight had to return to Calgary.

At the airport there were families expecting their loved ones to arrive, but because of maybe 3 obnoxious families the flights were turned back.

Apparently the owners  the end of the runway do not care what they have done to hundreds of families in the valley who have missed relatives flying in over Christmas due to their stand on the trees.  Typical rich guys.

So I am thinking of hiring retired special forces guys to sneak on the properties and wrap detcord about half way up the trees and blow them off.

Pat reminds me that we do not have the money to hire these guys (although in the movies, this seems so easy)  Still I am angry and tonight in bed I will think of many other things to do to these homeowners that blocked our Grandson from visiting us.



Dancing to the oldies

Tis the season for Christmas parties.

Last night Pat and I attended the second of three dinner/dances that we have scheduled for this week alone.  This one was the year end party for the Alumnae group that Pat belongs to.

When we first moved here Pat joined the Newcomers club where we met lots of new friends.  After 3 years you get kicked out and the ladies formed a newcomers alumnae club which is actually bigger than the newcomers and most of our friends came along.

Last night’s party had about 45 couples held at the Clubhouse.  Chance to get dressed up.    It was more fun than the party on the previous evening because we knew more than half the people and everyone is from our generation.  Almost like a wedding with lots of laughter and moving from table to table greeting friends.   The DJ played only music from the 60s and 70s and the dance floor was always packed.

Unlike the parties of our youth though, after a couple of hours of dancing most of the couples were heading home to bed by 10:30.  Our excuse was that we wanted to come home to let the dogs out for a final run, but I went to bed pretty quick.  Got to pace myself as we have another one of these on Saturday night.

Paramount Studios Mountain

Many years ago I was flying from Calgary to San Francisco on business.  I had upgraded to business class and had a window seat on the right side.

As we flew into northern California the sky was clear and the pilot banked to show a great view of Mount Shasta.  He announced that this was the mountain that inspired the logo for Paramount Pictures.

Over the last few years when we drove up and down the interstate 5 on the way to California or Arizona we passed Mount Shasta but it was always in clouds. I kept telling Pat that this was the Paramount mountain.

The last trip was different and it was crystal clear.  So we diverted from our trip to drive up the north side of it to try and find the view used in the logo.  Ended up with a beautiful picture but could not match the vision.  Afterwards I looked it up and found out that the Captain lied.  The Logo is based on a composite of many mountains.  Still this is a nice picture .  It is a twin volcano which is not apparent from the normal view from the west (from the right in this picture)

Mt Shasta